In Hino, Incoming Cargo, November 20207 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJanuary 20, 2021

October was a busy month for Hino Trucks and parent company Toyota, who have released more details of various electric and hydrogen development projects currently on the boil.

Back in March 2020 news broke that Toyota Motor Corporation and Hino Motors Ltd. agreed to jointly develop a heavyduty fuel cell truck, and to proceed with initiatives toward its practical use through verification tests and other means. The two companies declared ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions by 2050 and are developing electric vehicle technologies for widespread use. The Hino Environmental Challenge 2050 was established in 2017, of which one part is the New Vehicle Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge, through which Hino aims to cut its average carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles by 90% (compared with 2013 levels).

The heavy-duty fuel cell truck in this joint development project is based on the Hino Profia (700 Series), and is being developed taking maximum advantage of the technologies both Toyota and Hino have cultivated over the years. The chassis is specially designed with the optimum packaging for a fuel cell vehicle, and steps are being taken through comprehensive weight reduction to ensure a sufficient load capacity. The powertrain is equipped with two Toyota fuel cell stacks that have been newly developed for Toyota‘s next Mirai hydrogen fuell cell car, and includes vehicle driving control that applies heavy-duty hybrid vehicle technologies developed by Hino. Cruising range will be set at approximately 600km. Toyota and Hino have now confirmed that real-world verification testing of the heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks will begin in 2022 with a variety of Japanese operators in their logistics operations. This includes Toyota, which will use the vehicle to transport parts between the Toyota plants in Aichi Prefecture and Toyota Tobishima Logistics Center at Nagoya Port.

Photo: Hino Profia heavy-duty fuel cell truck.

North American development
On the opposite side of the Pacific, Hino USA has announced ‘Project Z‘, the company‘s development path to zero emissions vehicles (ZEV) across America‘s class 4 to class 8. Hino USA has partnered with technology leaders in advanced electrification drive systems. The ZEV products range from a class 5 SEA Electric SEA-Drive 120a on a Hino M5 (300 Series) chassis, up to a Hino XL Series class 8 tractor powered by Toyota‘s Fuel Cell system, as well as a battery electric class 7 tractor with Hexagon Purus‘s full electric drive system, and a Hino XL Series class 8 box truck powered by Xos Trucks‘ X-Pack battery and electric drive system. For the battery electric vehicles, Hino will look at both central drive motors and e-axles. The companies will leverage the newly developed Hino XL Series chassis with Toyota‘s proven fuel cell technology. This collaboration expands upon the existing effort to develop the 25-tonne Profia heavy-duty fuel cell truck for the Japanese market. Hino USA will unveil more details about the technologies and vehicles to come out of Project Z over the coming months. The first demonstration vehicle is expected to arrive in the first half of 2021. “A fuel cell powered version of the Hino XL Series is a win-win for both customers and the community. It will be quiet, smooth and powerful while emitting nothing but water,” says Tak Yokoo, senior executive engineer, Toyota Research and Development. “Toyota‘s 20-plus years of fuel cell technology combined with Hino‘s heavy-duty truck experience will create an innovative and capable product.”

A joint venture with Traton
Traton and Hino have signed a joint venture agreement for e-mobility to shorten lead times for future e-mobility products with battery and fuel cell technology. Back in 2018, Hino and Traton signed an agreement aiming for a mutually beneficial strategic long-term partnership, established a procurement joint venture in 2019, and have now solidified their collaboration in e-mobility. Under the joint venture agreement, the two companies will combine their unique strengths to consequently develop electric vehicles including battery electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, and relevant components, as well as creating common EV platforms including software and interfaces. Traton and Hino will form a team of advanced specialists from both companies and launch activities in Södertälje (Sweden) and in a second step in Tokyo (Japan). Traton Group CEO Matthias Gründler said Traton‘s mission is to carefully balance the interests of People, Planet and Performance. “This new joint venture with our strong partner Hino is our next important step in electrification, pushing our mission further ahead.”

BYD battery development
Following the March announcement, Hino and BYD Company Ltd – a Chinese developer of electric vehicles and electric vehicle componentry – announced in April a strategic business alliance agreement with a focus on collaborating in commercial battery electric vehicle development as well as in retail and other related business that will promote the adoption of BEVs. Now, the companies have announced a joint venture agreement to set up a new company for commercial battery electric vehicles development. This new venture is scheduled to be established within China in 2021, with BYD and Hino each making a 50% capital investment. It will combine the strengths of both companies to develop battery electric vehicles and electric units, aiming to quickly implement the ideal products for customer needs, primarily in the Asian market. The venture plans to initially launch vehicles under the Hino brand in the first half of the 2020s.

Photo: Hino USA‘s Project Z will cover all the country‘s heavy truck classes.